Learning During the Pandemic

March 26, 2020 10:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Versión en español.

Homeschooling Blues

Ever since I became pregnant with my first son, William, I felt like motherhood was—of all the roles I’ve filled in life—the one I was best suited for. As a newborn, William felt solid and whole in my arms, and I could always calm him down. I stumbled a little trying to figure out how to raise two boys when Santiago arrived two years later, but we soon fell into a happy rhythm. Our love is vast and elastic and it adapts to most situations. One thing I always knew, though, is that I didn’t want to homeschool my children. I wanted to share their upbringing with education professionals and to let them figure out how to build relationships with their peers without my supervision. I wanted them to have a world of their own that I knew only through their stories and through brief visits for special events like school dances and music performances.

We are fortunate to be able to afford to live in a neighborhood with an excellent public school within walking distance, but now, like schools around the world, that school is closed. Wisely taking into account the fact that not all students have access to the internet at home, the boys’ school is only providing optional activities, though they are still faithfully distributing meals once a week to students who depend on that food for their sustenance.

My husband Nate and I are still working. We are lucky to be able to work from home and to have a yard where the boys can run and play, but our days still feel like an endless pushing aside of the children so we can get work done. I spend an hour or two with the boys every afternoon as I did since they began school, but while before I used to play with them, I now feel like I should be doing educational things to make up for all that lost school time, which makes the boys feel like they don’t get to have fun with me anymore. Like billions of parents today, Nate and I feel like we’re walking through semi coagulated Jell-O as we try to figure out how to deal with this indefinite educational quagmire. In a piece about dealing with children at home, NPR suggested letting the children explore passion projects that there was no time for before and to be forgiving of ourselves and our children. If we can’t get as much learning done as we think we should, we need to be fine with that. That’s hard to do when you don’t know for how long this situation will last, but for once in the history of the world we are all in this together. Everyone is suspended in this strange moment, breaths held as we dream of returning to our old lives. I’m not sure how this time will change what those lives are like but perhaps we’ll be more forgiving of ourselves and of one another when we finally emerge back into the world.

Check Out My First Feature Vanishing Borders on Vimeo

Vanishing Borders Still
As you weather the quarantine, you can check out my 2014 documentary, Vanishing Borders, which is finally available to rent or buy on Vimeo. The film tells the story of four immigrant women—Toboho Moja from South Africa, Melainie Rogers from Australia, Daphnie Sicre from Spain and Ecuador, and Yatna Vakharia from India—who live in New York City and enrich the city with their work and activism. Watch it for a moment of hope and positivity in these confusing times.

Unearthed Photo of the Month

old school photo of kids laughing
My parents and I lived in New York City for a year when I was three. During that time, I attended a Montessori school that my dad would walk me to every morning. I only had vague and warm memories of the school until I found this photo among my father’s belongings when I was 21. I am the sad-looking girl holding a raccoon in front of the smiling mustachioed teacher, but given that I have many photos of me sulking during that time (my parents were getting divorced), what attracts me to this photo is the other children who were no doubt vital parts of my life for a year but about whom I know nothing at all anymore. I have no idea what their names were or where they were from or which ones I liked to play with the most. And yet, I feel forever connected to those faces and thankful they were in my life. They look like such a happy group of kids, completely unencumbered by the usual rigidity of class portraits. I like to imagine that this image captures what learning was like at the school—relaxed and full of laughter, games, and experimentation. Every time I see this photo (which hangs in my office) I dream that some of the magic of that school still shapes my thoughts and my ideas about learning and friendship to this day. I’m sure somehow it does and always will.

17 Women-Created Shows to Keep Your Entertained During the Pandemic

 the women in TV show Insecure.
The editorial team at agnès films—Mimi Anagli, Megan Elias, Kara Headley, Tiffany McIntyre, Sophie Schmidt, and myself—put together a list of TV shows created by women that are currently streaming in various platforms and that we promise will make the pandemic go by a lot faster. You can check out our piece and our explanations about what we love about each of the shows in our article “Binge-worthy, Women-Created Shows to Take You Places During Your Self-Isolation.”

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This post was written by Tiffany McIntyre

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